The true story as depicted by Mariah’s older sister Jenna McCarthy of the night and following day of Mariah’s passing

This essay was originally a Halloween story for Mr. Burgman’s English class. Instead of making up a story, I decided to tell what happened in the night of October 27, 2007. It hugely affected me, my family, the Kilmers and the Okrusches. It changed our lives forever and what you’re about to read is an entirely real and accurate account of what happened. I hope this will open your eyes as to why drinking and driving drunk are not okay anymore.

The story I’m about to tell is scarier than any Halloween story I could ever make up. On Saturday, October 27, 2007, my little sister Mariah and two best friends, Valarie and Kaitlyn, woke up with the intent of a regular day; little did they know that their lives would change drastically forever that night.

These three beautiful girls have three different personalities but are very much the same in many ways. Mariah, the old soul, quiet, deep thinker, good listener, and loyal friend; Valarie, the soft spoken, intelligent, caring, and gorgeous one; and Kaitlyn, the spunky, happy, excited one with the twinkle in her eye, ere together all day.

They were planning on staying the night at my house and decided to walk their other friends half way home at about 11:45 pm. On their way back to my house, they were hit by a drunk driver. I was driving home to make my curfew at 12:00 that night and saw a truck by the white fence with it’s passenger headlight cracked and burned out. I thought nothing of it, just a little fender bender. When I got home my mom asked, “Jenna, did you see Mariah and them walking home?”

“No.” I honestly replied.

That’s when I started to get a little worried. I went down to my room and my friend Lindsay Kilmer called me and asked, “Jenna, is Valarie at your house?”

“Uhhh no I don’t think so, why?” I asked.

“Well, someone just called our house and said that Valarie had been involved in an accident and she is hurt,” she said, her voice shaking.

A feeling of complete and utter fear overtook my entire being. I put on some sweats and my mom’s yellow coat and ran upstairs. I told my mom what Lindsay had told me, and we got into our suburban and drove down to where the truck with the cracked headlight had previously been.

Three ambulances and four cop cars had taken its place. People had already surrounded the area with tears rolling down their faces. Right then I felt the tears welling up inside my face, but I knew I had to be strong for my mom, who was having a much harder time than I was.

The three girls were covered in blankets and surrounded by paramedics and police officers. I couldn’t even get close to see Mariah or Valarie, but on my way back to the car to follow the ambulance, I caught a glimpse of Kaitlyn’s face. That twinkle in here eye wasn’t there. We followed the ambulance up to the emergency room at St. James Hospital and waited for them to call our names so we could see Mariah. After what seemed like years, the nurse finally let us back to the private waiting room.

“When the paramedics reached Mariah, she didn’t have a heartbeat,” she said.

My heart literally dropped.

“However, they have restored her pulse and she is breathing,” she said.

My heart rose.

We anxiously waited for the nurse to come back to the waiting room to tell us more news. The next person to come see my family was Dr. Rizer.

“her pupils are entirely dilated, that’s a very ominous sign,” he said. My heart dropped… again.

The nurse came back out.

“There is swelling on her brain, but no neck damage is apparent. However, we do not have a neurosurgeon on call tonight, so she will need to be life flighted to Missoula so they can reduce the swelling. She has vital signs,” she announced.

They finally let us back to see Mariah. It was so scary seeing her lying there, hooked up to so many tubes; it wasn’t her on that table. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t my baby sister lying there.

We rode to Missoula in the early morning around 4 a.m. Someone from St. Pats had called my dad and said Mariah was going to be ok and that she had all the vital signs needed for survival.

My heart rose.

We finally arrived at St. Pats and they let us in to see Mariah right away. Once again, it wasn’t her lying on the table with countless tubes going into her body, possibly keeping her alive.

The neurosurgeon took us into a back room to tell us what her condition was going to be. We all sat down on an examination bed, awaiting the prognisis.

“She’s not going to make it,” the doctor said with gloomy eyes.

Tears began flowing down the faces of my family members. They couldn’t handle it. No one could. She was only fourteen. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen to innocent girls.

She was my baby sister.

They moved her up to the intensive care unit at St. Pats. When she was stabilized, they let us in to see her, she looked even worse than she had before. I rubbed her swollen little hands as tears rolled down my cheeks. My family was in a state of chaos. These things were not supposed to happen.

Her organs were to be donated to others in need, but they needed to keep the blood flowing into her body, and so they kept pumping it into an IV in her arm, but the gash in her head was so severe that as the new blood was pumped in, it ended up flowing out of her head. Think about that for Halloween scary.

Looking back on the situation, my mom and I were talking, and she said, “She looked the most beautiful at St. James.”

“Yeah.” I softly replied.

Thinking about it, what my mom had said about her looking the best at St. James was entirely true, and that scared me. She looked the best, but it wasn’t her. She wasn’t Mariah on that table at St. James. She was a lifeless being waiting to pass on the a different place.

Life without my baby sister will be hard and even scary but I know she is always with me. Now I know what people mean when they say you never know what you have until it’s gone. In that one day my life was changed forever and if it’s not the scariest feeling in the world to see someone in your family die before their time, I don’t know what is. She’s out there, in a better place now, and upon hearing bumps in the night, it’s probably her just letting you know she’s there.